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Small places, big stakes: “: Meetings” as moments of ethnographic momentum
Stockholm University.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research (SCORE).
2016 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The World Economic Forum is essentially a world of meetings: staged, circumvented,

formal, organized meetings to which access is tightly restricted. The annual Davos meeting,

the WEF showcase meeting, is also a microcosm of the organization, set up in a small place

but speaking to bigger issues. Ethnographic fieldwork in organizations such as the WEF –

and more broadly in corporations, state agencies, and international organizations – often

involves doing fieldwork in workshops, at ceremonies, and at other staged, formal events. In

addition, such fieldwork tends to be multilocal, mobile, and discontinuous. What, if

anything, can we learn from doing ethnography in such small, temporary meeting places,

where we may not even have full access?

The paper shows that researching an organization such as the WEF is as methodologically

and theoretical challenging as it is rewarding. It is argued that to understand the practices

constituting meetings we need to broaden the perspective of the meeting as a phenomenon.

The meeting as research locus should not be seen as a given entity, but as a contingent and

continually constructed social arena. In the WEF case the meeting is both a continuous

organizing effort, and a social arena, temporarily bounded in time and space.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Meeting ethnography, world economic forum, seclusion, temporal arena
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136769OAI: diva2:1056507
32nd EGOS Colloquium, Organizing in the Shadow of Power, July 7–9, 2016 Naples, Italy
Available from: 2016-12-15 Created: 2016-12-15 Last updated: 2016-12-15Bibliographically approved

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Sörbom, Adrienne
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